ASHLAND, Ore. – They’re all teammates now, but there was a time when they were all heated rivals.
“It was Union, Camas or Skyview that were the top three every year,” Southern Oregon offensive lineman Max Proudfit says.
“It was nothing short of a championship for us every single time,” Southern Oregon offensive lineman Dylan Bratlie says.
“Definitely Union. We didn’t really like those guys,” Southern Oregon running back Zach Marshall says.
SOU quarterback Austin Dodge and Bratlie went to Skyview High School. Proudfit went to Union, and Marshall went to Camas. They were three of the top high school football programs in the Vancouver area. All three are within 25 miles of each other, which led to some heated rivalries, and some classic games.
“There were like 10,000 people at the game,” Proudfit says. “It was our last game of the league schedule and we were both undefeated. We were both really good teams.”
“We were up 21 going in to the final quarter and they came all the way back and beat us,” Marshall says.”It was heartbreaking for us, but he’ll tell you it was the greatest game of his life probably.”
“My senior year we played Union and we actually wound up losing 14-9 on a fullback dive for 30 yards,” Dodge says.”
It wasn’t the easiest thing to put these rivalries aside.
“I remember coming down and the first thing Coach Stew says is, ‘Hey, it’s Max Proudfit. He was a Union lineman,'” Marshall says, “and I’m just thinking, ‘Oh great, Union.'”
“Zach Marshall came down on a recruiting trip and he came in to the weight room,” Proudfit says. “I just happened to be wearing my ‘Beat Camas’ shirt when he came for his recruiting trip, and I looked at him and said, ‘You played for Camas, didn’t you?'”
The players have been brought closer together at SOU because of this common bond.
“When you come to a college atmosphere and you don’t know anybody, it’s one of those things that can connect you,” Proudfit says. “It made us friends almost automatically because we’re from the same area, we played against each other and we have a lot of respect for each other.”
But the past isn’t completely forgotten.
“We talk about it even when Union and Skyview play each other,” Bratlie says. “We still have that little bit of bickering towards each other and everything.”
“We talk about it every weekend when Camas plays Union or Union plays Skyview,” Dodge says. “It always has that little rivalry left in it so we’ll keep battling until at least we’re out of college.”